Rings of Passion (1976)

A few choice ingredients, such as its foxy female cast and their infectious enthusiasm for all matters intimate, effectively elevate this modest one or two day wonder above the murky masses of early ’70s storefront programmers. While there’s little chance of ever finding out the real identity of credited producer/director “Willie Creps”, it must be said that he meets his demographic’s demands with a happy go lucky hippie disposition and as much style as his meager means allowed for. Viewers who value honest eroticism over lavish production should applaud the effort.

An irresistibly tacky marching band rendition of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da accompanies the opening shot of three pairs of shapely ladies’ legs as longtime BFF’s Clair, Julie and Monica bemoan their lacking love lives with husbands and/or boyfriends. Presumably plucked from the same album, many more Beatles tunes (Hey Jude, Penny Lane, Fool on the Hill, etc.) will suffer the same fate before this flick’s over. The set-up, as hackneyed as it is, provides a convenient framework for nearly non-stop nookie. The brief running time of barely over an hour assures things never reach the brink of boredom.

Credits are riddled with silly aliases for all concerned but Nina Fause, Sharon Thorpe and Laura Bourbon star as the love-starved trio who compensate their frustration with copious shopping sprees. Hitched to white collar workaholic Phil (Tyler “Horne” Reynolds), Clair’s played by beautiful blonde Fause, the superstar that never happened. Although she started out working for Anthony Spinelli (on DIARY OF A BED and SEX IN THE COMICS), she shot herself in the foot by signing up for a slew of Carlos Tobalina stinkers like JUNGLE BLUE and THE ULTIMATE PLEASURE, with their collaboration on MARILYN AND THE SENATOR (by far his most ambitious endeavor) a comparative bright spot. This was Tyler’s breakout from orgy extra duties on Lowell Pickett’s COZY COOL and the Mitchell Brothers classics BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR and RESURRECTION OF EVE. Trademark mutton chops already in place, he generates a tender chemistry with Fause in their wedded bliss flashback.

Bountiful brunette Laura Bourbon (prominently featured in Bob Chinn’s LOVE SLAVES and Fred Sand’s underrated CEREMONY) has an entirely different problem as swinging single Monica, anguished over her inability to accommodate boyfriend John a/k/a His Hugeness Himself, John Holmes. Thank goodness the hard-up Clair steps in to save the day as well as the King from blue balls in an all time barn-burner. Though you would be forgiven for thinking the film’s title was chosen at random, it actually refers to Holmes’ use of a most peculiar marital aid (of little use to all but the most ridiculously endowed…), a set of brass rings placed upon his manhood to avoid injury of his partners by thrusting it in too deep too soon ! Monica’s more evenly matched with cute Jewish guy David (one shot Larry Games), so impressed by their believably passionate lovemaking that he promptly pops the question.

Taking top acting honors in what may well have been her very first film appearance, cult favorite Sharon Thorpe demonstrates her ability to transform a sow’s ear into a silk purse as catty catalyst Julie. Taking full advantage of Clair’s curiosity, she recounts a same-sex experiment from her college days. Filling the special guest star slot is the always welcome Clair Dia as adventurous coed Marcy, casually violating Thorpe with a double dildo on the water bed. Seeing how her limp-wristed spouse Pete (Peter Hand, another single shot) has been something of a stranger in their bedroom of late, Julie puts the moves on Clair, leading to the musical beds conclusion with a couple of twists, both real and imagined, indicative of a certain degree of ingenuity on the maker’s part.

Although obviously low rent, the movie never insults its audience with anything slipshod. The soundtrack’s a bit of an acquired taste, agreed, and even so might still bring the crimson glow of shame to the cheeks of those that have actually acquired it, but its very inappropriateness provides a constant source of chuckles. Cinematography by one Ron Helms (Wertheim ?) is crisp and clear and always in focus, with tons of extreme close-ups which always seemed far more numerous in cheap ‘n cheerful quickies such as these than their big budget brethren. The sole creative contributor who can be positively identified is editor “Sidney Knight” a/k/a Simon Nuchtern, who passed porn on his way from sexploitation (THE GIRL GRABBERS) to semi-respectability (the 3D slasher SILENT MADNESS) with the dark and brooding THE DEBAUCHERS and THE MORNING AFTER as results. So maybe he’s the man ultimately responsible for this sweet little sleeper.

  • Scene 1. Nina Fause, Tyler Reynolds
  • Scene 2. Laura Bourbon, John Holmes
  • Scene 3. Nina Fause, John Holmes
  • Scene 4. Sharon Thorpe, Clair Dia
  • Scene 5. Laura Bourbon, Larry Games
  • Scene 6. Sharon Thorpe, Peter Hand
  • Scene 7. Peter Hand, Tyler Reynolds
  • Scene 8. Nina Fause, Sharon Thorpe